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TREE OF FESTIVAL; CHURCH MATTERS.

Byline: Francis Wood

There's a tree grows near our house. Last week it burst into full bloom. Nothing but pale pink petals, masking the leaves and weighing down the branches. It looked its best. Life in the suburbs isn't very colourful. There's little variety in bricks, tarmac and a string of lamp posts. It can get noisy too because we're on the bus route into town. So flowering cherry trees are important. And after the tree blossoms there comes the Annual Flower Petal Festival. It's not so well known as the Battle of Flowers on the Isle of Jersey but for those with a broader mind, it's just as wonderful.

It begins with the trees giving up their petals. Like pink snow-flakes, they descend in a shower and the Festival begins. It's a sight to see. On that day, forget the bus. You'll walk on a fluffy wall to wall carpet, thick on the road and the footpath. The lightly scented petals blow gently round in the summer breeze, drifting against the wall and filling the gutter for a few hours of magic.

Next day, it's all over. The buses and cars have done their dirty work and perhaps a shower of rain swilled the petals away. The Festival is over for another year. As far as I know the trees never show any fruit. They just go on, praising God in flowers. Showing their Creator as the source of all beauty. Last Festival time I saw my neighbour, Charlie, across the street. "Have you seen the petals?" I called to him enthusiastically.

"Yeah," he said, "Nothing but a damned nuisance! They get in your shoes, you tread them into the house, they even get in your hair. I'm glad to see the back of them."

So I suppose it all depends on how you look at things. If only you can see beyond the pressures, the politics, the fears for the future, you could well see there's a festival going on every day. When you find it, life becomes much more bearable. My Festival's over for now. I'll have to find another.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 21, 2011
Words:353
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